Extract from Be Happy with Prayer, Meditation and Affirmation by Mynavati,
The bird with you, the wings with Me;
The foot with you, the way with Me;
The eye with you, the form with Me;
The thing with you, the dream with Me;
The world with you, the heaven with Me –
So are we free, so are we bound;
So we begin and so we end;
You in Me and I in you.
Sri Sathya Sai Baba
During these early experiences with God and prayer I remember that as soon as I could read and write I would also write little letters to God. Of course, they were all in the same theme of wanting God to, “Please take me home.” I would write these letters and wait for an answer. A child’s mind focuses on the one and only possible answer for them. Children have a pretty fixed black and white view of the world. And so I waited for God to suddenly lift me up to heaven. I believed that this would happen.
My mind was not open to the idea that God could answer us in many ways, and so I was not open to other options than the one I was mentally fixated on. But still, I liked the idea of writing to God, even when I did not get the reply I wanted; and I did not stop doing this until a certain point in my life when I turned my back on God for some years. When that happened, I was not interested in the very idea of God, let alone in writing letters.
Later, when I renewed my connection with God, realising then that although I had abandoned God, God had actually never abandoned me. God had held and cared for me throughout this period waiting for me to come out of my mood. God is very patient and even if it had taken many lifetimes for me to change my disposition, God would still be waiting. At this point, I had begun working with people as a psychotherapist and healer and, when appropriate, I would share my experiences of connecting to God with my clients. The idea of writing a letter to God also helped them very much.
I saw then, that in connecting with Divinity and in praying through writing, people who were feeling blocked or hopeless were often able to become unstuck, move through and be lifted from the narrow view of the mind and its fixed idea of how things should be. In praying in this very focussed way, they found that some opening could happen, some insight, intuition, some feeling of response or answer would come for them.
We can never solve our problems with the mind. It is the mind that has composed the problem. It is the mind and its ensemble of thoughts that have given you the pain and the suffering, so of course it can never come up with the solution. Whatever solution the mind comes up with will only immerse you further in a dilemma.
I observed that what is helpful when people pray to God with writing, is that they have a record of what they wrote. They have something concrete that they can look at again and be able to view in a different way. Their minds are clearly able to read what is written and know the pickle it is in, and in that awareness there comes humility. With humility, we can formally, respectfully and gratefully hand the whole thing over to God. To whom else can we do this? Who else is really available to us with the necessary Divine Wisdom? Who else really cares always?
There are some very powerful reasons which make the writing of words as a prayer so helpful in Divine Connection. Firstly, it requires some effort from us to write something in the form of a letter, and this is good if we want to communicate with God. This is because it requires some commitment from us, and I am sure that when we give some effort and commitment in our communication with Divinity, this pleases God. So, in endeavouring to write, we cannot just glibly say empty words without the thought of any commitment.
We have “to write” the words. We have to make the time to write the words and obtain the necessary materials. We have to find the pen, the paper and even something to lean on. We try not to be disturbed. This all requires effort. One cannot “hurry” a letter quite in the same way one can hurry up a “Hello”, whilst running off somewhere. When we get this far in writing a letter to God, we can at least know that we think God and us are worth the effort. This is a big step in the right direction towards owning our Divinity.
Secondly, in writing a letter, rather than in speaking, one can focus the mind more easily. If you become readily distracted while praying with words, or find it difficult to connect with your feelings at that time, you may find it easier to have more of a connection in writing a letter to God. This centring may also help you to access the authenticity of your feelings. Also, when we write and we become relaxed with the process, we can allow our expression to flow, and we sometimes begin to write something we never even thought of. We can surprise ourselves with what we write down. I have often found in these instances that when people just allow the words to flow, they are amazed at what they have written. When we access our feelings in this way and allow ourselves to open up to God we can more and more allow our hearts to pour out to God. This can become a beautiful process and with an unexpected turn of events.
Some people have told me how they have used their left hand to write rather than their right hand (that is, when they are right handed) and that this has helped them further to bypass the ego mind and connect more with the heart. Some people choose a particular time of the day and make this a special period, which also helps them to immediately connect and be present to what they are doing. Some friends paint the most beautiful pictures and colour drawings and honour God in this way. They may use words with their art, or they may not.
After writing the letter, some people like to place the prayer letter under their pillows. Often when this is done, Divine love and help will come through the night in the form of a dream, or as a feeling, an insight on awakening. There are myriad ways to pray by letter. Others carry the letter around with them and consequently feel that God is with them throughout the day.
In a time of crisis, for example, when someone contacts me to tell me that they are in pain or there has been an accident or some situation that is critical, I will often write a small letter to God and place it under a lighted candle. This little ritual of prayer has sometimes worked seeming miracles. I place the letter under the candle and then light it with the intention:
Dear God, Let there be Light in this situation. Let it be Thy Will and not my will.
I have a friend who had a cat for many years. One day she contacted me in terrible distress. Her cat was old by that time, very old even by cat standards, and now seemed to be dying. The cat would not drink or eat anything and was just lying in a corner. My friend had at that time been experiencing the most profound loss in her life. The year had been filled with death and disaster. She could not face the thought of also losing her beloved cat. I told her that I would light a candle for the little cat that evening. I did so, as in the way described above, and I received a phone call the following day from my friend. She told me that at some point in the evening, (We later ascertained that it was at around the time I lit the candle.) the cat who had been lying listless and without any energy suddenly jumped up, shook itself as cats do, and decided to have a drink.
The cat happily lived for another couple of years and then died peacefully. This is an example of the power of prayer. Only God in compassion could heal the cat and help my friend. Only God could decide that to allow the cat to live for another two years was the most compassionate and appropriate action for both of them. I am sure also that the cat, in its deep love and gratitude for my friend, was a willing and happy recipient of God’s decree. I am convinced that the cat’s own Divinity wished to help its beloved carer, my friend, as well as be an instrument of God.
God alone knows what is best for us and when. As I wrote earlier, I usually include in my letters and prayers to God, the phrase,
Let it be Thy will and not my will.
As well as that phrase, I also try to remember to write or say,
For the good of all concerned.
We, with our identification to ego-mind cannot understand the action that is appropriate for the good of all concerned. This is the exclusive wisdom of God.
Not long after I met my Guru, Sai Baba, He beautifully acknowledged my love of communicating to God in prayer by letter, and He allowed me to pour out to Him all that I felt I needed to and which was in my heart up to that time.
For a period of around four weeks, Sai Baba was giving two Darshans (views of God in form) a day at Kodaikanal, a hill station in India. Each day, twice a day, I wrote letters to Him as God. He came to me and took the letters from me. Sometimes, if He did not take the letters in the morning, He would take them in the afternoon. In this way, I engaged in an intense communication with Him. I found that as I wrote daily in this way to my Guru, that more and more words and feelings came. I just handed over to Him all that was in my heart, all that had been troubling me and which was holding me back from my opening my heart more. This went on for the weeks that I was there. Eventually, I felt there was nothing left to say in terms of pain or confusion or troublesome thoughts, and I began to write words of love, of poetry and to draw. Sai Baba still came to me and took the letters, as I knew He would. I cannot really explain why I knew, but I did. My at-one-ment with Him felt so strong to me during that period, His actions could not surprise me.
This daily happening became a ritual at that time for me. So much so, that on one occasion, when I was sitting further to the back and I could not stretch out the letter I had in my hand to Sai Baba, He stopped walking and stood in front of the row I was seated in and waited for my letter. I attempted to stretch the letter out to Him but could not get near Him. Sai Baba asked the lady in front of me to help me, by beckoning to me and saying to her, “Why don’t you help her?” He waited patiently as the letter was passed down the row to Him. As I write this I realise how precious those weeks were.
Dearest, Sweetest, Beloved Swami,
As I wrote the above, my heart just filled up with love at the thought of how patient You were with me at that time, and how much truly You love me. Thank You, for showing me the power and love in writing a letter to God.
From you loving daughter,
Sometimes my Guru, Sri Sathya Sai Baba, takes letters from people in Darshan and sometimes He does not. Occasionally, He takes letters from particular people who say that they know that they are to communicate with Him in this way. Others have said to me that they know that they are not to try to give Him letters, as He will not take them.
In my own experience, I have found that there are times when I am to do this with Him and there are times when I am not. For me, my Guru is a manifestation of God, and I am devoted to Him in this way. When it does not seem the “right” time for Sai Baba to take letters from me personally I will still write them to Him as God, and respectfully place them on my altar. In this way I have found my prayers to be read and answered.
Consequently, I have suggested to people that if they are in pain or have a seemingly insurmountable problem to daily write letters to God, to allow their feelings to be expressed until the pain is gone. Often when they do this, they find deeper reasons for the pain and they can also hand this over to God and ease their burdens.
Sometimes, we blame our pain on something that has happened to us or something that someone has done to us, but the truth is that things are rarely that simple. The pain, or the problem is already within us, and this “something” or someone has merely pierced the wound already there and bleeding. As well as my own experience, I have observed people who have followed the process of prayer writing until they have found some resolution, and miracles of healing and love have happened in their lives.
Importantly, when we write our prayer as a letter, we address it to God. It makes a big difference to know that whatever we are saying is formally going “to someone.” It makes real the fact that God exists and that we are sending a letter to that Divinity. This helps us to stay more conscious of our prayer, the reality of our situation, and to Whom we are communicating.
I often begin my prayers by writing, “Dear God” or “Beloved Lord.” Or, when I feel I wish to particularly address my Guru, “Dearest, Sweetest, Beloved, Swami.” I know people who like to address their prayers to the “White Light, Heavenly Father, Great Spirit, or Divine Light.” As has been written earlier, our labels of God really do not matter. What matters is to discern which ones feel more right and accessible to us than others and to use the former. It is God who matters.
Finally, most of us like to do something to help ourselves. We like to feel that we have taken an action We like to have tangible evidence of our efforts, something concrete to hold and see. We need this at times. When we put a lot of effort into helping ourselves and we see the result this allows us also to be more open to receiving something in return. For example, if we do a piece of work for someone, we will more likely be open to receiving an expression of their gratitude rather than if we feel we have done nothing. If they offer us something when we have done nothing we might even feel suspicious, or feel that we cannot accept their offer because we do not deserve it.
The mind has many such neuroses and directives. But, in the awareness of them, we can use them to God’s advantage. We can play a game, which will satisfy the ego’s little neurotic children, and we can reassure them and placate them by giving them something to do. Tell them that, “We are going to write a prayer to God, and this will make us all very special to God, and God will answer us in the most loving way God sees fit.” Include these poor little beings of doubt and pain and inadequacy in your heart as you write and pray and watch the miracle of love unfold for them and you. Include all the goodness and what you feel is the badness of you when you unite with God.
There is no one better to go to than God. In going to God we do not need to go in supposed perfection. We meet God with all the aspects of ourselves that we accept and which feel unacceptable to us. There is no One more equipped to understand you, Who loves you and will accept you, more than God. So, Who better to pray to, to depend on, and to write to, to love, to adore, and to share the myriad aspects of yourself than with God? Only God can do.
Following my letter-writing weeks with Sai Baba in Kodaikanal, I was blessed with an interview by Him just before my departure for home:
When I entered the small interview room attached to Swami’s house, I had no idea that my heart had been so opened up to Him through the letter writing. I sat on the floor while Sai Baba talked to some others in the room that He had also called. Swami then came and stood in front of me with a tremendously loving look upon His face.
During the previous months, I had gone through quite a lot of trauma, and had even been examined for a tumour in my throat following a previous interview I had received from Sai Baba three months before. The doctor said that he had seen cases like this before and that they were “a result of shock.” What I never told the doctor was that during my first interview with The Avatar (God on earth in human form) around three months before, and which was my first one, I had a profound experience. When I first looked into Swami’s eyes, as I entered the room, I intuited a voice within me saying, “Oh, God, you have met your death.”
So, I now understand that this death will be the death of my ego. And, I was aware of knowing this then also. But, the immediate shock to my ego was so immense that it literally formed a lump in my throat. By the way, this tumour caused by shock quickly disappeared after my second interview. I had also been having heart palpitations and this was another health concern. However, the palpitations also ceased shortly afterwards, as a result of Swami’s Divine Grace.
As I stared into His dark, fathomless, but immensely loving eyes, Sai Baba asked me, as though He had talked to me only yesterday, “And, how are you now?”
I had thought before that if I had the opportunity to speak with Him again, I would like to ask Him if I was about to die. I had been thinking that this was possible, bearing in mind my recent health problems. I also had many questions, one of them being about all the traumas I had been experiencing since I was last with Him.
But, as I looked into Sai Baba’s eyes, I saw many bubbles like the kind children blow out of bubble pipes float in front of me. Each little bubble was filled with a picture of one of my troubles, questions, anxieties and fears. As I was pinned to my Guru’s, I became aware that these bubbles were popping all around me. In retrospect, He was telling me that: Trouble is a bubble.
What came out of my heart in that instant shocked me to the core of my being. I had no idea I would ever say the following words to Swami, or even have the courage to say them. The words came from my heart alone and not from my mind. Throughout the entire interview/inner view I had been crying, and yet I found myself saying through the tears and sobs, as if in response to the bubbles bursting as well as to His enquiring how I was now, “It doesn’t matter Swami…I just love You.” I profoundly realised at that moment that there were no important questions to ask of the Divine. I also realised that all that mattered was that I loved Him—that I loved God!
He replied, “And I love you too.”
In conclusion, I believe that the power of writing letters to God is infinite and that this form of prayer can work the miracle of opening the heart. Once the heart is opened, all things are possible.
The following is an example of a letter that Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba sent to students at one of His colleges. And, this shows how God can also speak to us so tenderly in written prayer:
The time will come when the whole of this dream will vanish. To everyone of us there must come a time when the whole universe will be found to have been a mere dream, when we shall find that the soul is infinitely better than its surroundings. In this struggle through what we call environments, there will come a time when we shall find that these environments were almost zero in comparison with the Power of the Soul. It is only a question of time, and time is nothing in the infinite. It is a drop in the ocean. We can afford to wait and be calm.
(Baba) Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Be Happy with Prayer, Meditation and Affirmation by Mynavati is available on Amazon – CLICK TO PURCHASE
Be Happy is a guide to help you find true happiness. A happiness from within, free from a dependency on the world and its attractions and pitfalls. It draws directly from the authors own considerable life experiences, extensive travels and studies in meditation and spiritual philosophy from a broad spectrum including: Advaita, Tibetan Buddhism and ancient Vedic teachings.
The depth of this book goes beyond basic mindfulness and self-help, giving the reader far reaching tools for personal growth and inner contentment. The main body of the text explores the various ways we can pray, chant, and meditate to find inner peace and happiness, it reveals a unique method created by Mynavati which teaches how to compose and recite transformational affirmations.